In the lessons of the worship service this morning, Sara made a statement that caught my attention as she was teaching about gift giving, especially during this season [but not exclusively]. She said, “How will my voice sound when I extend my hand with a gift to another?”
What she was saying in essence was this. Will I take this glory unto myself, that I am a great gift-giver; look at me and my generosity. Or will the gift I present to another have a gift tag that reads….”For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him will have everlasting life”….’and I extend this gift to you in His love and in His Name that you might meet the eternal God and Savior Jesus Christ Whose birth we celebrate at this season.’
Will we substitute ourselves as the great gift-giver, taking honor from the GREATER THAN of all [another point of Sara’s lesson in worship] Who is God Almighty? Will we substitute our temporal gift for His unspeakable Gift, Jesus Christ? Or will we, along with our gift give the only REASON for giving at all. That is, to share with the recipient(s), the Gospel of the Kingdom, that God has sent His Son and He has sent Him for you!
By MG Henry, if you want to know more about this gift email me: email@example.com
10 thoughts on “Gift Giving”
“How will my voice sound when I extend my hand with a gift to another?” My thoughts were on “Faith, hope and love and the greatest of these is Love.” I Corinthians 13:13 Will my hand give voice to the moving inspiration of the gospel? Or, will it give voice to my compulsion of self? Does my hand with voice become a catalyst to hope and faith which would be a sum total of love?
Clark’s commentary says, “Love is the fulfilling of the law; but this is never said of faith or hope.” Wesley’s Notes states; “Faith, hope, love-Are the sum of perfection on earth; love alone is the sum of perfection in heaven.” People’s NT, Love is the greatest because it glorifies both faith and hope, sanctifies every faculty and Christian grace,… and is the one quality that is divine.” God is Love I Jo 4:8 ”
How do I voice my Faith?
After reading your comments, Sara, I just had to see if my Bible had any footnotes for (I Corinthians 13: 13). Guess what…..it does. I would like to share the footnotes here: “Paul wrote that love endures forever. In morally corrupt Corinth, love had become a mixed-up term with little meaning. Today, people are still confused about love. Love is the greatest of all human qualities and is an attribute of God himself (1 John 4: 8) LOVE involves unselfish service to others. FAITH is the foundation and content of God’s message; HOPE is the attitude and focus; LOVE is action. When FAITH and HOPE are in line, you are free to love completely because you understand how God loves. Does your faith fully express itself in loving others?”
From comments above:
“Love is the greatest because it glorifies both FAITH and HOPE, sanctifies every faculty and Christian grace,and is the one quality that is divine.”
“When faith and hope are in line, you are free to love completely because you understand how God loves.” Does anyone want to elaborate on this?
In my hearing/perception/understanding of what Sara said I heard ‘how will my voice make a difference when my hands extend the gift’. Sara’s comments above say to me that I can make things, buy things, give things…but what difference will it really make in the life of the recipient unless I can connect words to it that will bring the Light and Life of Christ to them through the gift. How many times I have given Christmas and birthday presents to family or others but felt an emptiness in not bringing a story or connection that would “give voice to the moving inspiration of the gospel? ” That would have been love and may have made a postive difference, not fed another’s appetite or longing for something that will never really satisfy or bring eternal value.
As time goes by, we are realizing that all the hype and years of presents and gifts that we have been given can never compare to the ‘present’ that comes with THE PRESENCE; that ‘voice” that Sara taught about this morning, those lips and tongues that give “voice” to the presence of the Living God, Jesus Christ. He must be the Mantle overarching all the pomp and circumstance of giving. Or as Debi indicated in her comment, we have given in vain.
I awoke this morning thinking more about Sara’s comments and [now] TH’s Bible notes; on this earth the foundation for love is the FAITH in & of God and the HOPE of eternal life that it brings. So Faith and Hope are necessary in this temporal world.
But when we get to Heaven we will not need faith…for faith is the title deed of something we have not yet attained but that is legally ours…”the substance of things HOPED for the evidence yet not seen.” So when we are in Heaven we will have the evidence and be living in that evidence.
And, we will not need HOPE, either because why would we Hope for something we already have. Romans 8:24. And Corinthians says, “the greatest of these is Love, because that is Who Christ is, Who the Father is and the Spirit. And Heaven is where they live on the Throne. So after all things pass away, yet will remain the greatest symbol, THE OLD RUGGED CROSS, that is, the symbol of LOVE.
“When faith and hope are in line, you are free to love completely because you understand how God loves.” Does anyone want to elaborate on this? Asked Tammy?
Teach, teach, teach! This is how God loves….Teach, teach, teach……He teaches through parables, by example and by using others as called out villains or saints as well as using all earth resources to show and tell.
Taking a stab at trying to elaborate on the quote, “When faith and hope are in line, you are free to love completely….etc” I take it that faith and hope are not in a random order, neither in the Scripture nor in spiritual reality. First comes Faith. And because of Faith, then one can hope. And when those are “in line” in order then we can begin to love like Jesus loves.
That sure is an elaboration to think on.
In Pamela C. Hawkins book, Behold-Cultivating Attentiveness in the Season of Advent, she writes;
“If you have a “Christmas list” begun where you list gifts you plan to give, take the list and at the top of it or in the margin, write down three “spiritual gifts” that God has already given you. Some examples might be patience, listening, prayer, compassion, wisdom, gentleness, teaching, faith, peace, healing, etc. Thank God for these gifts, and as the season moves forward, consider how you might share these gifts with others throughout the season.”
Great concept. I am going to try to do this with each of my prayer lists. Sharing the gift that we are and that God has given each of us is a way of extending to others, not just a material gift but a spiritual gift; the sharing of ourselves as citizens of the Kingdom of God.